Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What would autumn be without asters?

with 20 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Austin is home to various types of asters that are sometimes hard to tell apart. I photographed this one on September 28 near E. 51st St. and US 183.

Aster is the ancient Greek word for star: each aster flower head is like a stylized star with rays shining out from a yellow center.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 8, 2012 at 6:15 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Superbe photo. Ici, les asters sont différents. Bientôt, on va en voir dans tous les jardins.


    October 8, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    • Selon Wikipedia.fr, “Le genre Aster (mot grec signifiant « étoile », à cause de la forme de l’inflorescence florale) est très important par le nombre d’espèces (environ 600) et de variétés. Cette plante fait partie de la grande famille des vivaces à floraison automnale. En général, les asters sont des plantes rustiques et facile à cultiver.” On a changé le genre de la plupart des espèces américains à Symphyotricum.

      Val notes that the asters she’s familiar with in France are different, and I quoted a French Wikipedia article saying there are some 600 species in the genus Aster. Most of the American species have relatively recently had their genus changed to Symphyotrichum.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 8, 2012 at 6:52 AM

  2. Wonderful photo, Steve! Our woods and roadsides are filled with asters right now. I have a large stand of big leaf aster in the woods (loves the shade) as well as other species along the road. Most of the asters in my garden come from the New England and New York parentage, especially the purple flowering ones. One of the delights of autumn!


    October 8, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    • Yes indeed, asters are one of the delights of autumn in Austin, too. When I visited my sister in the Berkshires five years ago at this time I saw plenty of New England asters in the shade of the tall trees up there. Some of the ones down here are purple, but more commonly there’s a violet tinge that shades into white.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 8, 2012 at 8:23 AM

  3. Your photograph’s darker background does help to give your aster a more star-like quality. Funny, I just posted about my asters and others this week. Mine are similar in flower form, but the leaves are much different. ~Lynda


    October 8, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    • As you noted, the darker background makes the flower head stand out here, and that’s what attracted me to this view.

      In Austin alone there are various species of asters, and many more elsewhere, so I’m not surprised that the leaves shown here are different from the ones you’re familiar with (which I saw on your blog, and which I’m glad you’re enjoying).

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 8, 2012 at 10:29 AM

  4. For some reason when I see the word aster I always think of “yellow aster”. I love the purity of your white aster!

  5. Asters are probably my favorite flowers. I’ve photographed, painted and even designed crochet patterns from them. Big showy flowers are wonderful, but little white flowers win the show for me.


    October 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM

  6. Asters are so cute!!!


    October 8, 2012 at 5:32 PM

  7. stunning shot.
    LikE lots.


    October 8, 2012 at 10:20 PM

  8. I like asters too – they are about all we have left in western Virginia!

    Jo Ann

    October 9, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    • Here in central Texas, where cooler weather has only now arrived, we still have native wildflowers of various types, as you’ll keep seeing in these pages in the days ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2012 at 7:47 AM

  9. I’m rather taken with the surrounding buds, too. Having some in focus both to the left and right of the flower is just perfect. In their own way, they’re as attractive as the flower.


    October 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    • I agree with you, Linda. Given the subdued lighting and the relatively large aperture I used, I feel fortunate to have gotten so many of the buds in focus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2012 at 12:57 PM

  10. […] week ago today I asked: What would autumn be without asters? I could raise the same question about goldenrod, which recently reached what may well be its […]

  11. […] a post on October 8th I asked “What would autumn be without asters?” The aster shown then was a species (I don’t know which one) that produces flower heads […]

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